Macroeconomic Fluctuations in Europe: Demand or Supply, Permanent or Temporary?

Peter R. Hartley and Joseph A. Whitt Jr.
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Working Paper 97-14
November 1997

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We use generalized method of moments to estimate a rational expectations aggregate demand-aggregate supply macroeconomic model for five European economies. Our aim is to examine whether supply or demand shocks have predominated in the major European economies during the post-war era and whether shocks of either type have been primarily temporary or permanent in nature. The estimation procedure is an alternative to estimating and interpreting vector autoregressions under restrictions either of the Bernanke-Sims variety or the Blanchard-Quah variety or to performing calibration exercises.

We find that all four types of shocks (permanent supply, permanent demand, temporary supply, and temporary demand) are needed to account for the data on output and inflation. Permanent or temporary demand shocks have been the dominant source of variance in output growth in four of the five countries, but there is no consistent pattern for inflation.

JEL classification: E32, C32

Key words: generalized method of moments, macroeconomics, rational expectations, real business cycles, Europe

The authors thank Bennett McCallum, Adrian Pagan, Will Roberds, Bart Taub, and participants in seminars at Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, Rice University, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, the Federal Reserve System Committee on Macroeconomics, and the Western Economic Association for comments on earlier drafts. The views expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta or the Federal Reserve System. Any remaining errors are the authors' responsibility.

Please address questions regarding content to Peter Hartley, Professor, Department of Economics, MS#22, James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University, 6100 S. Main Street, Houston, Texas 77005-1892, 713/527-8101 ext. 2534, and Visiting Professor, Tasman Institute, the University of Melbourne; and Joseph A. Whitt Jr., Economist, Research Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 104 Marietta Street, NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30303-2713, 404/498-8561,